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How Do Charges of Domestic Violence Affect Child Visitation Rights?

No one should ever be put in a situation where they have to endure abuse. Unfortunately, most cases of domestic violence in the U.S. go unreported, leaving those individuals vulnerable and helpless to these horrific acts.

The heartbreaking reality is that nearly half of domestic violence victims live in households with children, leaving the children vulnerable to these crimes as well.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.

One of the many reasons that spouses who are victims of domestic violence do not come forward is for fear of losing custody of their children, based on threats made by their abuser. If you are seeking a divorce to get out of a domestic violence situation, our caring attorneys are here to help you through this situation in order to maintain your safety and custody of your children.

If you need immediate help filing a restraining order against a domestic violence abuser, contact our domestic violence attorneys at (732)-385-5597 for a free and confidential consultation.

How New Jersey Courts Decide Child Custody

When a New Jersey couple is divorcing and they have children, Courts are required to take into account a long list of factors when determining child custody arrangements, including:

  • The parents’ ability to agree and communicate;
  • The parent’s willingness to accept custody;
  • The relationship between the children and the parent;
  • Preference of child of sufficient age;
  • Needs of the child;
  • Quality and continuity of child’s education;
  • Fitness of parents;
  • Proximity of parents;
  • Stability of the home environment;
  • Any history of domestic violence; and
  • The safety of the child and/or either parent from physical abuse by the other parent.

While the courts will consider all of the factors, the current health, safety, and well-being of the children will always take precedent.

Can Domestic Violence Allegations Impact Child Custody?

The short answer is yes, domestic violence allegations can absolutely impact a divorcing couple’s child custody arrangement. Here’s how the process works.

When beginning the process of a divorce, many domestic violence victims will seek restraining orders against their abusers. After obtaining a temporary restraining order from a Judge, your spouse will not have access to you and most likely your children for at least a period of time.

The two of you will then appear in court to determine if a Final Restraining Order will be granted. That is, the Judge will determine if the evidence provided shows that there were instances of domestic violence and that a Final Restraining Order is needed to prevent further acts of domestic violence. If the final restraining order is granted, the courts also have the power to determine other aspects of the divorce, including temporary housing arrangements, temporary child and spousal support payments, and temporary child custody arrangements. Further, there is a presumption that if a Final Restraining Order is entered the victim shall be presumed to have custody.

When determining child custody, New Jersey courts follow a “best interest” standard. This means that courts have an obligation to make decisions of child custody that are in the best interest of the child.

Determining factors of best interest standards include:

  • Physical health and safety
  • Emotional needs
  • Co-parenting standards
  • Practical considerations

A history of domestic violence could impact all 4 of these factors. Even if the abuse is not directed at the child, the physical safety of both the child and the abused parent could be at risk. Witnessing a parent get abused can also have an emotional and psychological impact on a child, and could, in turn, be considered abuse against the child.

New Jersey courts will take all the factors of the specific case into consideration when determining custody. Our family law attorneys have experience working with families of domestic violence. We can work with your family and present the evidence in court necessary to ensure that your children are put into the best possible situation.

Obtain an Experienced New Jersey Family Law Attorney

Because many domestic violence cases occur within families, domestic violence allegations also become a family law matter. If you have filed a domestic violence restraining order against your spouse and need assistance with child custody, we are here to provide compassionate and personalized attention to your case.

If your spouse filed a false domestic violence restraining order against you, make sure you also take prompt action immediately. The ramifications of these allegations could keep you from seeing your children and force you out of the house that you and your spouse share.

The safety and well-being of you and your children is absolutely our number one priority. Child custody can already be a complicated issue. Domestic violence allegations can make the process even more difficult. Going through it alone should never be an option. At Rozin | Golinder Law, our New Jersey family law attorneys are always ready to listen to your story, fight for your family, and protect what matters most.

The caring attorneys at Rozin | Golinder Law, LLC are ready to fight for your family and what is right. Contact our firm at (732)-385-5597 for a free and confidential consultation.

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